Sir, – As an organisation which seeks to protect and extend access to the countryside for responsible recreational users, Keep Ireland Open condemns in the strongest possible terms the unjustified attack on the Glenmalure farmer Pat Dunne (“Landowner says he is ‘fearful’ after being attacked by hiker”, News, March 25th).
To ask a person not to bring dogs up a mountainside was absolutely correct, especially at a time when sheep are lambing. Anyone with an ounce of sense or knowledge of the countryside should know that.
It is why Keep Ireland Open, along with other organisations which attend meetings of Comhairle na Tuaithe (the Government advisory body on the countryside), have asked that there should be a compulsory module for transition year students about responsible behaviour in the countryside.
Keep Ireland Open has been aware for several years of Mr Dunne’s generosity in terms of giving access to the Zig Zag path in Glenmalure, one of the most important paths in Co Wicklow.
This makes the incident very serious for the general public as well in that it restricts access in Glenmalure and may make other landowners wary of granting access.
We hope the Garda Síochána can get to the bottom of what happened and that, if someone is found guilty of an offence, they are punished.
Looking to the future, we hope for a situation where legislation will protect the rights of walkers and those of landowners as well. – Yours, etc,
Keep Ireland Open,